Every organization has a strategy. That is not the issue.
(The organization would not exist without a strategy.)
Here’s the issue:
Is the strategy explicit or implied? Is it clear and articulated or vague and assumed?
Why does this matter?
People don’t behave according to your strategies and instructions.
They act on their perceptions of strategies and instructions.
Here’s another issue:
Since a very young age, we have been rewarded for getting better at what we do. Is it any wonder that people at work habitually think in terms of getting better at what is already being done? Even at the risk of ignoring the future?
Why does this matter?
Getting better at what we are already doing is called efficiency. It is easy to measure because it is objective, black-and-white, left-brain stuff. It is about compliance.
Efficiency matters. But it is not a strategy.
In a changing world, you must stay relevant. This is tricky, because it is subjective, right brain, shades of grey, because you have no proof yet of what exactly will be relevant. Trust matters. Trust that your gut, your research is right. Trust that you understanding the effect, the outcome, you must create.
This is effectiveness. This is what strategy is about.
Because of those two issues, I broadly approach any strategic planning exercise as follows:
- Clarify Current Strategic Position: Gather information quickly about the explicit or implied vision and strategy. Use the Strategy Refocus Questionnaire (up to 42 written questions).
- Uncover Perceptions: Explore the strategic perceptions of the executive team members (and possibly middle managers as well). Use The SHiFT Trigger when appropriate.
- Describe the What-Can-Be: Clarify and articulate the vision, purpose and values.
- Perform Gap Analysis: Use steps 1-3 with the Wheel of Success to explore (a) understanding the strategy, (b) commitment to the strategy, (c) executing the strategy, and (d) learning from the strategy.
- Identify Strategic Issues: Use basic scenario planning techniques (predetermined events, key uncertainties and surprise-free outcomes) to identify the strategic issues.
- Develop Strategies and Action Steps.
Call James on 804 240 2715
Or email him: james @ jamesmcintoshcoaching.com